Confronting the Boundaries of Human Longevity
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Olshansky and his fellow demographers argue that human beings, like race cars, are not designed to fail; they are simply not designed for extended operation. In this analogy, the finish line for human beings is the successful reproduction and raising of offspring. The reason that many individuals live far beyond their reproductive years is due to the robust engineering built into the species by natural selection. Modern medical technologies and modified lifestyles have extended the post-reproductive years in industralized societies by protecting the individual from the harsh conditions in which our species evolved.